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With the news that the recently-released superhero team-up Justice League is on course to lose up to $50-$100 million, you might be wondering if the DC movie is set to be the biggest flop of all time.
Not quite. It’s got some way to run before it can punch and truth-lasso its way to the bottom.
We should note that, while the production budget can sometimes appear to have been recouped in worldwide box-office receipts, marketing costs and “Hollywood accounting practices” add to the overall amount a film costs to produce.
Here are the top 10 movies which not only bombed, but in some cases destroyed companies and careers…
The Adventures of Pluto Nash
Production budget: $100 million | Loss: $96 million
Eddie Murphy was once synonymous with success: the ’80s gave us Beverly Hills Cop and Trading Places; the ’90s, The Nutty Professor and Dr. Dolittle; and even in the ’00s he had Shrek.
But 2002’s The Adventures of Pluto Nash kickstarted a real dive into live-action family clunkers; see also, Norbit and Meet Dave (or rather don’t).
It was simply a terrible movie. The sci-fi comedy (and we use the term loosely) didn’t receive one breath of praise, with everyone lambasting the script, humour, acting and visual effects. Its 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes says it all.
Which begs the question—ijust how did this movie cost so much to make?
Production budget: $135 million | Loss: $96 million
You’d be forgiven for asking, Stealth?
This 2005 sci-fi Top Gun-esque tale boasted the early-’00s rising stars Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, and Jamie Foxx with The Fast and the Furious and xXx director Rob Cohen behind the camera. Sounds like a solid action film destined for a middling but profitable future.
With no real production problems to speak of, Stealth crashed and burned on its own terrible merits, beaten by the likes of Wedding Crashers and Sky High on its opening weekend.
Production budget: $175 million | Loss: $98 million
Giving a gargantuan budget to a first-time feature-film director is a risky move. But that’s precisely what happened here when Universal Studios endowed Carl Rinsch with an eye-watering multi-million dollar check.
Rinsch had worked in commercials and “state of the art interactive technologies” (according to his website) when he was given the 2013 flick. Tellingly, he was removed from the project during the editing process and more footage featuring its star Keanu Reeves was shot.
But this couldn’t save the samurai fantasy adventure that had critics and audiences alike seeking seppuku.
The Lone Ranger
Production budget: $225 million | Loss: $98 million
The 2013 western from Disney reunited the dream team of Gore Verbinski, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Johnny Depp after numerous, highly profitable Pirates of the Caribbean installments.
This should be box-office gold, right?
Not quite. The production ran into trouble, costs escalated and the whole thing was nearly shut down before it was completed. When it finally hit cinema screens, The Lone Ranger was slammed by critics and shunned by audiences.
The film wasn’t a total wash-out though—it received two Oscar nominations (for ‘Visual Effects’ and ‘Makeup and Hairstyling’).